In a blow to the franchise, the upcoming Macworld Conference & Expo will be Apple’s last. The tech giant is pulling out of the yearly event where Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) faithful convene to be wowed by new products, attend seminars and info sessions, and generally geek out. Philip Schiller, Apple’s SVP of worldwide product marketing, will deliver the opening keynote — which is normally delivered by co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs — for the conference this January, but the company said (via a press release) that it would not exhibit at future shows.
As Digital Daily notes, the unexpected news poses quite a headache for IDG, parent company of the Macworld brand (magazine, Website and conference). Given the sorry state of print advertising, any new budget holes on the events side of the Macworld business will likely be sorely felt.
It also raises the question of how the conference will sustain itself without what has arguably become its main attraction — Steve Jobs showing off new products. Jobs debuted the iPhone and AppleTV in 2007, for example, and the ultra-thin MacBook Air laptop this year. But apparently the buzz whipped up at Macworld isn’t worth the amount it costs to host an exhibit: Apple said that trade shows had become a “very minor part” of how it reaches its customers, and hinted that it was doing fine through in-store and online sales. Meanwhile, Wall Street took the news as a worrisome sign for Apple, whose shares were down more than five percent in after-hours trading following the news. Release.
Updated: An IDG spokesperson told me that the show will go on: